Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever has unveiled its new €44m global leadership development centre in Singapore as it looks to grow in emerging foreign markets.
Unilever, currently the world’s third largest consumer goods company, marked the opening of the facility by staging the largest supplier meeting event ever held in Singapore.
The Partner to Win Supplier Summit 2013 event brought together over 350 representatives from the company’s strategic supplier partners to discuss unlocking potential in growing international markets.
Unilever has invested heavily in developing and emerging markets in recent times, including more than 50 new factory and warehouse facilities.
Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief procurement officer said despite continued talk of re-shoring trends, the South East Asian market is still attractive to companies.
“We see Singapore as a global hub and a gateway to some of our fastest growing businesses, such as Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines,” he said.
Mr Engel added: “We are also investing in emerging markets such as Myanmar where we need our partners to grow with us after recently announcing a Eu500 million programme of investment there.”
At the summit, Unilever also hosted an awards ceremony to recognise suppliers who have made a winning contribution in the areas of innovation, sustainability, joint value creation, capacity and capability building.
Winners included Lindal, Tata Chemicals, Giant Foods and AHT Cooling Systems GmbH Austria & IARP SRL, which won the Special Contribution award for its work in bringing Lean and Green ice-cream refrigeration cabinets to the market.
Singapore Economic Development Board chairman Leo Yip expressed his delight that the country had been chosen to hold the event for its first time outside of London.
“Asia continues to offer companies strong growth opportunities, both as an attractive end-market and a prime investment location,” he said.
“But to capture these opportunities, companies need to build supply chain capacity in Asia, deepen supply chain relationships and undertake innovation. As a global-Asia hub, Singapore is well positioned to support companies and suppliers in these efforts.”